Tell me about the “Good Ole Days”

“Grandpa, tell me about the good ole days.”  “Why son, when I was your age, we didn’t have kitty litter boxes. We used to have to go outside and dig our own places to poop.  Let me tell you, sometimes the snow was so high that it was up to my stomach.  You young cats have it easy.  Cat litter boxes with scoop-able litter; why in my days, they would laugh us silly for using such things.”   

Tell me ’bout the good old days.
Sometimes it feels like
This world’s gone crazy.
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday,
Where the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy. (Lyrics from the Judd’s song)

Every time I get into a discussion with some “old” friends, it always seems that the “good ole day” trumps today and definitely tomorrow.  “Things are so screwed up today, the end of the world is near, government is one big conspiracy, globalism is destroying the world, they’re going to take our guns away, etc., etc., etc.”

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”-  Socrates – 469-399 BC

Even in Socrates day, the world was going to “hell in a hand basket.”

Origin of the phrase “to hell in a hand-basket”

It isn’t at all obvious why ‘hand-basket’ was chosen as the preferred vehicle to convey people to hell. One theory on the origin of the phrase is that derives from the use of hand-baskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment. If Hollywood films are to be believed, the decapitated heads were caught in baskets – the casualty presumably going straight to hell, without passing Go.

My mother liked to use the phrase “to hell in a hand-basket” and since I doubt I have ever used it in any of my 700 or so blogs, I thought it fitting to use today.  I would not want to be accused of using any hackneyed phrases.  By the way, do you know where the word “hackneyed” came from?  The use of “hackneys” or renting out horse drawn cabs over and over again until they were worn out is one meaning.  The etymology of words is fun and often challenging.  Now there is a word to look up!  What the heck is an “Etymology?”

But I digress; let’s get back to the “good ole days.”  Do you remember how much a pound of butter or a dozen eggs cost in 1930?  Answer:  46.4 cents for the butter and 44.5 cents for the dozen eggs.  So there is factual evidence that things were much better in the “good ole days” than they are now.  Where could you get a pound of butter today for even 50 cents?   Of course, the average American White male lived only to 59.7 years of age and the average American Black male lived only to 47.3 years of age in 1930.  Could it be they were eating too much butter and eggs?

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
Stand beside each other come what may
was a promise really something people kept,
Not just something they would say
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away
Whoa oh Grandpa,
Tell me ’bout the good old days.  (Lyrics from the Judd’s song)

I suppose though that if the world is really going to end soon, that trumps the price of eggs and butter.  You never had to worry thirty years ago about the world ending, unless of course you were watching the nuclear clock and saw it ticking down to zero during the Cold War between the US and Russia.  I learned the other day from watching “Secrets of the Dead: The Worlds’ Biggest Bomb” that we tested thousands of nuclear devices during our arms war with the Soviets.  It is an absolute miracle that we did not create some kind of a chain reaction and blow the entire world up.  The following figures are from Wikipedia:

United States: 1,054 tests by official count (involving at least 1,151 devices, 331 atmospheric tests), most at Nevada Test Site and the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands, with 10 other tests taking place at various locations in the United States, including Amchitka Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, and New Mexico (see Nuclear weapons and the United States for details).

Soviet Union: 715 tests (involving 969 devices) by official count, most at Semipalatinsk Test Site and Novaya Zemlya, and a few more at various sites in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.

Can you imagine the fall out and radiation that we must have put in the air from these tests?  If you look at the Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima disasters, the pollutants from these meltdowns is beyond belief!  How much radiation did we treat ourselves to in the “good ole days?”  We are probably still ingesting nuclear particles from those tests today.  What is the half-life of a plutonium or uranium isotope?   I think it is well over 20,000 years for either.

Well, I guess I am digressing again.  I want to focus on the “good ole days.”  I keep getting carried away with side excursions.  Please excuse my inability to focus, but you know for some of us the “good ole days” were not so good.  But I want to be objective about this.  I don’t want to tell you that my “good ole days” actually sucked, but that’s another story.

Most of the “older” people I meet today seem to remember fondly high school sock hops (I never went to any) good ole rock and roll music (I liked opera better) their high school sweetheart (I did not have one) and the astounding feats of athletic prowess that took place on the “good ole” high school gridiron.  Of course, they ruined their knees, thighs, and hips which is why they are now fat and obese and spend most of their time watching TV sports.  “I busted my knee during the big play in my senior year!”  “I was running for the touchdown pass when I was blindsided!”  “I got hit by a 350 lb. lineman from our high school rival during the big game!”

I would be a zillionaire if I had a dollar for every former high school athlete I meet who gives me the “good ole” excuses as to why they are now “proud” couch potatoes.  For most of these guys, the “good ole days” was high school.  Actually, my high school days sucked.  They kept trying to expel me and the cops kept trying to arrest me.  I was lucky to get out of high school with only one serious conviction, but that’s another story.

Let’s get back to the “good ole days.”  Maybe thirty or even one hundred years ago is not far enough back to get to the real “good ole days.”  Maybe we need to go back to the days of the Philistines, or Vikings or Huns?  I bet things were a lot better when there were fewer rules about raping and pillaging and scorched earth efforts.  You know less government regulations.

Everything is changing fast.
We call it progress,
But I just don’t know.
And Grandpa, let’s wonder back into the past,
And paint me a picture of long ago. (Lyrics From the Judd’s song)

You really had “free” enterprise when you simply could take what you want.  I am always perplexed by people that talk about the wonders of free enterprise.  I don’t get too many things free and whenever I go to the local auto repair shop or grocery store, they always seem to have their hand out for a payment.   To me it’s free if I can just take it and not have to pay for it; just like the Vikings and Huns used to do.  Now that was free enterprise.  The “good ole days” at least had more recognition that stealing was not all bad depending on which group you belonged to.  Today, the only people that get away with “free” stealing seem to be the politicians.  It must mean that politicians are more corrupt today than in the “good ole days.”

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
Mark Twain

I have heard it said that “people get the government they deserve.” Perhaps people get the lives they deserve.  How many people would agree that what you reap is what you sow?  We like to blame others for our problems.   That means anyone or anything else we can attach blame to for the problems we now have.  It is easy to blame young people, foreigners, immigrants, political leaders, the president, communists, liberals, conservatives, morons, idiots and others for our problems.  It is much more difficult to find the blame in the mirror image that is reflected when we care to look.  Yes, we get the government we deserve and we probably get the world we deserve.  Thus, my conclusion to finding the “good ole days” is to look closer at your calendar and remember that the day you are looking at today will soon become one of those “good ole days.”

Time for Questions:

Are we living in the good “ole” days or have they become part of a history never to repeat itself?  What were your “good ole days?”  Are you stuck in the past?  Why spend the energy to change anything?  Do you keep looking back or do you keep your eye on the present?  How do you keep moving forward?  Does your world get better and better or simply more tired and worn out?

Life is just beginning.

27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ralph Swain
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 16:55:39

    All of our past includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, there are some “good” things in the Good Ole Days. For example, Old Time Radio programs which created the theatre of the mind. No need for violent visual graphics to get the point across. Most radio programs were “kid friendly” and still could scare the hell out of you. Here’s a very short list of the “good” of the Good Ole Days (say 1940s and 50s)…more families ate dinner together, discipline was imposed by both teachers and parents, Emily Post and daily etiquette ruled the day, car keys could be left in the ignition in your driveway, back doors (usually to the kitchen) could be left unlocked for the milkman (ha-ha, I mean so that the milk, butter and cream could be left in the refrigerator). I know because I delivered milk from a milk truck in the summer of my senior year. The bad we can leave behind…lack of full equality for minorities, women, and sexual preferences; inhaling tobacco as fine health wise, lead paint and asbestos were useful products, etc. etc. Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to pick and choose which products, mores and lifestyle habits from the Good Ole Days could be preserved and which could be thrown out?!?!


    • johnpersico
      Nov 24, 2013 @ 04:06:21

      Thanks Ralph for the comments. I always enjoy your insights. Yes, it would be wonderful to pick and choose both the good and bad. I try to remember the Golden Mean but it is easy as we age to forget the “bad” in the “Good” old days, so I wrote this blog as a means of “balancing” the scale.

      Thanks Again for your comments.

      Wishing you peace, health, happiness and success,


      Dr. John Persico P.O BOX 2498 Arizona City, AZ: 85123 612-310-3803


  2. Fred Broussard
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 17:28:42

    Thanks, John. I enjoyed that work. Sometimes I say I miss the “good ol days..sometimes I think..”good riddance” to what existed. Things are better today when I think of more opportunities for everyone..less so when I think of morals. The new “knock out” fad of some black youths comes to mind ( from recent new’ reports).
    Have a great day. You’ve made mine better than it would have been.


  3. johnpersico
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 04:11:37

    Fred, you are such a positive guy. I love your attitude., I wish I could be 1/2 as positive as you are. Thanks for the comments> I agree, but I wonder if morals have diminished or changed? I think people today may value different things than we once did and perhaps that changes the nature of the morality practiced. An excellent book I read a few years ago was called “The Death of Character.” IT was a history of moral development in the USA since 1900. Very interesting.

    The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil by James Davison Hunter


  4. ggorman10
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 02:14:18

    I think Ralph summed it up pretty well. I would just like to add that what hasn’t changed is human nature. What has changed is the environment. The average person lives twice as long as those in the not so distant past. He lives in greater comfort than the kings of old, and has traveled farther then these nobles could imagine.
    Anecdotally, what seems to have not changed is the excitment of youth in the future, and the pessimism and intolerance that occurs quite naturally in middle age. Myself being the exception of course.
    So the next time you hear an older person complain about hip-hop and tatous, just say, yes, change is the order of the universe.


  5. Greg Gorman
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 06:09:53

    Given that the main philosophical offering of Heraclitus was essentially that change is the order of the universe, I am sure he realized that he must change from a young man to an old man, if he’s lucky.


  6. johnpersico
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 17:52:45

    See this article on why 2013 was the best year in human history.


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